A sensor apparatus is provided using a microcantilevered spring element having a coating of a detector molecule such as an antibody or antigen. A sample containing a target molecule or substrate is provided to the coating. The spring element bends in response to the stress induced by the binding which occurs between the detector and target molecules. Deflections of the cantilever are detected by a variety of detection techniques. The microcantilever may be approximately 1 to 200 .mu.m long, approximately 1 to 50 .mu.m wide, and approximately 0.3 to 3.0 .mu.m thick. A sensitivity for detection of deflections is in the range of 0.01 nanometers.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY-SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to contracts number DE-AC05-96OR22464 and DE-AC05-84OR21400, between the U.S. Department of Energy and Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.